Peek In My Hopper

If only someone could find a way to translate all the blog posts I write in my head while I’m driving or cooking or doing books at the office. If only I could collect a ticker tape of my brain activity (dreams excluded, those are wacky) and cut and paste the best bits for this blog.

I had so many good ones in “the hopper” (which is what I call the mental centrifuge that filters obsessive thoughts into actual truth nuggets).

A few things I planned to write about this week:

– The way my throat clamps shut when I visit a church, and I cannot sing along with the hymns. Even in my son’s hipster congregation on where instead of a choir there’s a “worship team” with a drum kit and bass guitar and the songs are all catchy and upbeat. As a former singer/songwriter I feel strange standing in silence while those around me sing, but some old anxiety clamps on my throat and seals my lips. Instead I close my eyes and sing in my mind, and trust that God understands this little mystery even if I don’t. But then I feel guilty, because if everyone did the same the sanctuary would be silent…and then I wonder, “Wouldn’t God still hear choir, I mean worship team, of our hearts?”….

– That I realized only yesterday at I had confused Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air” with 80s actress Terri Garr, who I’d assumed reinvented herself as a radio personality after retiring from acting. I was so impressed how her ditzy, perky blonde stereotype had been shed for the deep-voiced intellect on the radio. “She was a better actor than I thought!” To be fair, I am Canadian and our national NPR equivalent is CBC (tv and radio) and I only recently picked up NPR on satellite radio. The Garr/Gross mix up was the result of catching occasional promos, but minutes into listen an actual episode I was searching “Terry Gross photo” followed by “Phoebe’s mom on Friends” and laughing at my mistake.

– That I spent 4 days at the lake without a packing along a carefully planned array of non-alcoholic beverages for myself. This used to be a big deal – How many days? How many dinners, cocktail hours, card games and evening fires did I need to soothe myself through? This time around, all I worried about was morning coffee and bedtime tea. Seriously. What a shift.

– That we stayed in a theme room at West Edmonton Mall, and like the note above, booze did not even cross my mind. Wine and hotel rooms used to go hand in hand, and I made a point of packing bottles, corkscrew, and glasses in my drinky days because God forbid I might be stuck in a hotel room without my much needed wine. When I quit drinking, I needed to replace all that and you will see in some earlier posts how I kitted out my bag with all kinds of replacements.

– How sometimes it can be hard to be of service to people who are active addiction. I want to help everyone and not everyone wants to be helped, even when they have reached out to ask for help. It is a delicate dance. I am learning and doing my best.

– How I tired AVE (audio visual entrainment) and what a little trip that has been.

But damn, all of those posts wrote themselves in my head and I failed to capture them. Instead I am writing this recap in between appointments and hoping you can hop from dot to dot to build some kind of picture. What did it form? What do you see? A happy, sober lady living a full life? Or a scattered flibbertygibbet who needs to focus and schedule more writing time?


  1. The move to alcohol just not being in mind in situations where it once was the only thing in mind is still for me the mind blowing thing about recovery. I can go to a gig now, a rugby match, go through an airport etc. etc. and not think about drink at all. Incredible

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is now day 24. We were out of town last week at a friends house and I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner. I must admit that I wanted more but was able to stop. I also know that had I been at home I would have drank the whole bottle. The next day I had 2 beers. Still wanted more but since that was the end of the beer supply at home, I was able to stop. A reminder to me that I can’t drink anything without risk of slipping back to old habits.


    • Some say that stopping is never the problem….it’s *not starting* that’s difficult! Take some time to consider why you accepted wine at dinner. Replay the situation a few different ways with you saying no thank you. I actually rehearsed saying “none for me thanks” over and over in front of a mirror before attending events in early sobriety. It helped develop some muscle memory. Work extra hard now to protect your sobriety, because it’s a slippery slope.


      • Thank you for the “not starting” quote. I believe that is my issue. I have learned to be cautious who I talk about my efforts to stop drinking. Some say that I can have a glass of wine (it is so relaxing) or a beer with pizza is so good. It wont hurt to have just one. I think they are (at least for me) very mistaken. I am determined to live alcohol free. Too many family members and friends have had serious consequences when drinking.


  3. I am new to sobriety (ha, first day, AGAIN), and blogging (second real try after starting 2 years ago). Your stories, blog, and podcasts have been inspiring to me all along. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me as I embark on my own journey to self-help myself to a healthier, happier place!


  4. “Peek in My Hopper” has got to be one of the (if not THE) best email subject lines I’ve ever received.

    I am looking forward to hearing more about your recent shift around not needing an array of NA “soothers” on vacation. That is huge and exciting! I have found less desire for that than I had imagined months ago. A nice tall ice water is usually plenty fine! Maybe fizzy water with some fruit if I’m feeling fancy. Coffee or tea, sure. But not every occasion calls for its own “mocktail.” It has really shown me how embarrassingly much energy (and caloric intake) went into my drinking. I can’t believe I ever fooled anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m currently on a road trip and I must admit, the easy access to alcohol , the freedom of being on vacation and the hotel-room trigger that you mention have been a bit of a challenge. Okay-a big challenge. Still hanging in there though and happy to see this new post today. Love the flibbertygibbet reference.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We just watched Joe versus the volcano the other day, so this is my second time in one week hearing the word flibbertyjibbert. Love the freeflowing, fun update, happy sober lady πŸ™‚


  7. I am still in the mode of needing to have replacement drinks for all the times I do things where I use to drink alcohol. Its nice to know that subsides after some time! Hopefully soon I will just worry about my coffee and tea instead of all the NA drinks in between to make me feel special! πŸ™‚


  8. What theme room were you in? I think I have stayed in them all. Lol

    Maybe one day you will sing at church and the tears will flow and you will find relief….no one will think you are weird. They will be jealous that you have let something go.


  9. Will you be blogging about AVE? That caught my attention.

    Love your words. You should carry around a recording device and switch it on when you need to! So much good stuff!


Your Turn! Have Your Say:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s